Bolt posts 2020 losses of €45 million

Bolt e-scooters.
Bolt e-scooters. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

Tech unicorn Bolt has reported losses of €44.9 million for 2020, though its revenues rose just under seventy-five percent, to €221.4 million, the company says. Bolt operates taxi ride hailing, food couriering and scooter, bike and car rental services, all via an app, and says it is the third-largest peak season e-scooter rentals firm Europe-wide.

The losses for Bolt Technology OÜ, which operates the Bolt brand, were still almost half that experienced in the previous financial year, when a figure of €85.5 million was posted.

The company's recent financial report said: "We reacted immediately to the situation, focusing on other activities than ride mediation in activities and investments. We accelerated the expansion of the delivery field and reallocated resources to other areas of activity," in respect of the volatile situation brought about by the pandemic.

At the height of the crisis in mid-April, the company's business volumes had fallen by 80 percent compared with their pre-COVID-19 levels, BNS reports.

The company said it had moved towards recovery quicker than some of its competitors.

"By comparison, our European competitors have taken at least three to five years to achieve the same result, and have made investments which were several times larger," Bolt continued.

Food delivery and e-scooter and car rental services were particularly strong areas of growth, Bolt says.

Rentals income rose eleven-fold during the past year and was profitable when taking into account total costs, the company says. In the fourth quarter of 2020 (Q4 2020) food delivery, which now includes groceries as well as restaurant food, accounted for 15 percent of the firm's sales revenue.

Plans to hire 500 or more new staff through 2021

Bolt says it plans to hire at least 500 more employees in 2021 to support the company's expansion and product development goals, including continuing to expand its e-scooter rental service, which in Estonia covers several smaller towns now.

In 2020, the company employed just under 1,800 people.

During the peak season, Bolt offered e-scooter and electric bike rental services in 17 countries and 51 cities, while the company's vehicle fleet included 32,000 light-duty vehicles. This made Bolt the third largest European e-scooter operator of the season, the company says. Meanwhile its delivery service was operational in 17 countries and 33 cities worldwide.

The company recently more than doubled its valuation to €4.75 billion in a recent funding round, raising €600 million for the development of on-demand quick grocery deliveries.

Founded in 2013, Bolt Technology OÜ is a mobility platform operating under the Bolt brand (formerly Taxify) and offers ride-hailing, micro-mobility and food ordering services in countries in Europe, as well as some Middle-Eastern and African states.


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